Damn the strategic plans, full steam ahead

There was an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “Strategic Plans Lose Favor“.

The gist of it was that, in volatile times, long-term strategic planning is not only impossible but undesirable. When you’re navigating rough seas, you have to be able to re-assess, adapt and change course on a dime. That big five-year-plan brick-of-a-document that you paid your consultants tons of cash to print and bind in ad nauseum quantities is as relevant as a hundred-year-old map of the great plains. When the landscape is shifting, implementing plans carved in stone is like driving directly into a brick wall because your GPS says the wall shouldn’t be there.

Ironically, this is the environment that Gen Xers know best. Instability. Unpredictability. Sudden change.

Don’t get me wrong; I, too, love it when a plan comes together. But like many, I have lost faith in the power of long-term plans. That’s just not the reality I have lived. I have been on so many paths that ended abruptly that it doesn’t even strike me as odd anymore. No, you can’t run a business or a career moment-to-moment and expect to achieve any particular goals; but over-analyzing, over-planning and over-documenting a long-term strategy is the professional equivalent of navel-gazing.

Set your sights high; know your overall objectives; re-assess, adapt your strategy; implement. Repeat.

That seems to be the new-fangled way of doing things.

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